Prior to acquiring Michael Bennett from the New England Patriots for a conditional seventh-round draft pick the Dallas Cowboys defensive line was really good at getting after the passer. DeMarcus Lawrence with 3.5 sacks and Robert Quinn with six sacks have been excellent this year.
Lawrence and Quinn have been so good and at the same time, they've been two of the most double-teamed defensive linemen in the NFL.
Double team rate as an edge rusher (x) by pass rush win rate (overall, not just vs. double teams) as an edge rusher (y). Labeled some notables. ESPN stat, NFL Next Gen Stats data.
With as good as they've been despite being double-teamed as frequently as they have, the rest of the Dallas Cowboys defensive line should be more productive than they've been. In acquiring Michael Bennett, the Dallas Cowboys have added another player that opposing offenses are going to have to account for.
Per ESPN Pass Rush Metrics via NFL's Next Gen Stats, the Dallas Cowboys boast three players in the top 11 of defensive linemen in pass rush win rate when facing a singular blocker. Robert Quinn (2nd), Michael Bennett (6th), and DeMarcus Lawrence (11th) provide the Dallas Cowboys with three players that have been excellent this season in getting after the passer.
One of the things that needed to be better for the Dallas Cowboys coming out of the bye week. With the addition of Michael Bennett, the Cowboys added a player that can rush from the 3-technique spot during passing situations. When the Cowboys are able to get Lawrence, Quinn, and Bennett on the field at the same time opposing defenses are going to struggle with where to slide their protection. They can't just focus on Lawrence or Quinn moving forward with how good Bennett can be from the inside.
Having three players that you can rely on to consistently win their 1-on-1 matchups is going to be huge for the Cowboys moving forward. One could argue that the biggest issue they've had this season is not getting enough from the interior when Quinn and Lawrence are being double-teamed. Bennett rushing from the middle should allow Quinn and Lawrence to have more 1-on-1 matchups, which they've been winning at a pretty high rate.
The Cowboys will now deploy three players with a 10 sack season in Quinn, Lawrence, and Bennett.
If the offense can get a lead in games, they'll have a field day lining up to go after opposing quarterbacks. With their upcoming schedule featuring Kirk Cousins, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, and athletic young quarterbacks in Mitch Trubisky, Daniel Jones, and Josh Allen.
The next nine games will put their defensive talent and their depth to the test as there aren't any gimmes like they had in the early part of schedule aside from maybe the New York Giants this week on Monday Night Football or the Washington Redskins game week 17. Even those games, however, aren't necessarily going to be easy as the Cowboys will play the Giants on the road and the Redskins generally play the Cowboys tough.
The Dallas Cowboys defense is going to be tough for those opposing offenses, even the Patriots, to deal with in the second half of the season and Lawrence, Quinn, and Bennett will be a big reason why. You can't double every one and teams won't likely double the same player regularly, which means each of these dynamic pass rushers will have their opportunity to shine.
Starting Monday night against the quarterback, there will be a race to the quarterback. It's going to be fascinating to watch it unfold.
Report: Cowboys G Connor Williams to Undergo Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Expected to Miss a Few Weeks
The Dallas Cowboys received a bit of bad news today. According to ESPN's Todd Archer, Guard Connor Williams will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday.
Connor Williams will have surgery on his knee Tuesday but the hope is he will be able to return after a few weeks. Xavier Su'a-Filo will likely move into the left guard role, which is how the Cowboys handled Williams' absence last year because of a knee... https://t.co/M55eVtYCIJ
Williams suffered the injury in Sunday's 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. This is a minor procedure but will keep Williams sidelined for a few weeks. Backup Guard Xavier Su'a-Filo is expected to fill in during his absence, just like he did in 2018 when Williams missed time with a knee issue. More to come.
Jason Garrett Reminds Everyone That Kellen Moore Calls the Plays
There's a lot of blame game being played around the Dallas Cowboys right now after a demoralizing home loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Even the head coach seems to be getting in on the act as Jason Garrett went out of character and got unusually specific in explaining Kellen Moore's responsibility for play-calling.
Garrett is not known for calling people out. In fact, many fans have criticized him for not being more critical of his players. He tends to speak in vague, nebulous terms when it comes to discussing the Cowboys' weaknesses or failings after a loss.
But in a radio appearance this morning, Garrett didn't mince words on who was deciding the plays during the Cowboys' final drive.
Jason Garrett on @1053thefan on the two run plays late: "Kellen's calling the game. In that situation it's 2nd and 2. He felt like he had a good opportunity against a favorable box to run the ball in those situations. On each of those plays we had options beyond just the run.
Jason did try to excuse his offensive coordinator's decisions with some context, but he also made sure to clarify who was responsible for those calls. It was not very Garrett-like, and it may speak to his own growing frustration and concern over his future.
Garrett is on the final year of his contract and the Cowboys' front office has made it clear that any extension depends on the results of the 2019 season. With Dallas now dropping to 5-4 and only leading the division by a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Philadelphia Eagles, the future is increasingly unclear.
Jason Garrett famously uses "we" and "us" terms when talking about the negatives, not wanting to assign blame to any particular player or person when things aren't going well. That he strayed from this well-established behavior today may be an anomaly, but it shouldn't be ignored.
With a tough second-half stretch coming in this 2019 schedule, Garrett may be starting to feel like a dead man walking. We'll see in the coming weeks if this leads to anymore shifts in his usual demeanor with the media.
Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly from Week 10 Against Vikings
Well Cowboys Nation, the Dallas Cowboys let yet another winnable game slip to their grasp Sunday night after the devastating 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. By my count, that's three out of four games the Cowboys probably should have won this season. But, probably… maybe… and should have don't mean diddly squat in the NFL.
I'm not going to beat around the bush today because I would likely end up going into a long winded rant about what took place last night. So, let's go ahead and jump right into this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. As always, please feel free to use the comment section to voice your opinions and thoughts on the subject.
Unlike in weeks past, I had absolutely no problem deciding what to go with this week for this category from the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. I don't think anyone would argue that the good had to be Quarterback Dak Prescott's play and the Cowboys overall passing game. This unit was the sole reason they had a chance to win at the end.
Prescott was simply phenomenal Sunday night. He threw for 397 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception. He was on point last night and was dropping dimes all over the place. It's one of the reasons why both Amari Cooper (147 yards, 1 TD) and Randall Cobb (106, 1 TD) both went over the 100 yard mark in receiving, and Michael Gallup wasn't too far behind (76 yards, 1 TD). All in all it's an MVP caliber performance from No. 4, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to seal the victory.
I thought and thought about what I wanted to go with in this category and I'll have to admit, I had a hard time deciding. There were individual players who deserved a nomination here, but in the end I think the bad for the Dallas Cowboys was them getting off to yet another slow start against the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, it's been a trend for them this season.
It all started when Jason Garrett decided to send out Kicker Brett Maher to attempt an ill-advised 57 yard field goal. Maher is capable of making such kicks, but there's a time and place to use that kind of weapon. Last night on the opening drive of the game was not one of those times. After the missed FG, the Vikings had excellent field position and scored a quick TD. Not long after they scored another TD to go up 14-0 after another stalled drive by the Cowboys offense. It's a hole they were never quite able to dig themselves out of.
Deciding what to go with here in this category was pretty easy after narrowing down what I wanted to put in the bad category. I think the ugly for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings was their defensive play. In all honesty, it was absolutely sickening to watch the Vikings have their way with the Cowboys defense. Dallas has far too much talent on that side of the ball to be manhandled like they were.
The tackling was atrocious and so was the execution. I'm pretty sure the game plan was to neutralize Dalvin Cook the way they did Saquon Barkley in Week 9, but the league's leading rusher (Cook) would have none of that. He pretty much did what he wanted. He ran through arm tackles and had room to run, whether it was as a rusher or receiver. It looked a lot like what Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones did to the Cowboys in Week 5. It was completely inexcusable and unacceptable!
What is your good, bad, and ugly from the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 matchup?
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